Friday, July 26, 2013


Viva Las Vegas would be a pretty standard Elvis movie except for the presence of Ann-Margret, who obviously inspired Elvis to do some of his best film work. Elvis plays Lucky Jackson, a race car driver trying to raise enough money to buy a new engine for his car. Ann-Margret plays Rusty Martin, a swimming instructor at the hotel where Elvis is staying. Elvis tries to woo Ann-Margret and she resists these advances at first but, of course, she eventually falls in love with Elvis. 

In Viva Las Vegas, Elvis sings seven songs solo and has a duet with Ann-Margret on one song. Ann-Margret has two solo songs in the movie and The Forte Four have one song. I thought the stand-out songs were "Viva Las Vegas" (Elvis has an edge to his voice when singing this tune that really makes the song), "C'mon Everybody" and his duet with Ann-Margret "The Lady Loves Me". A few of the other songs were ok and, as usual with an Elvis movie, a few of the songs were just "filler". Supposedly, the scene where Elvis performs "Viva Las Vegas" was done in one unedited shot, the only time this ever happened in Elvis' movie career.

My mind wandered into the fantasy world of the movie as I wondered in the above scene, did Elvis have the short yellow jacket and Ann-Margret wore the dress to match OR did Ann-Margret have the yellow dress and Elvis said "Hey, I got a short yellow jacket to match."

It's rumored that Ann-Margret and Elvis had a love affair while making this film and I have no doubt this is what brought out the best in Elvis. Ann-Margret had only made a few movies before this one and Elvis turned out to be the better actor in the film. When Elvis and Ann-Margret have a scene together their chemistry exploded off the screen. They truly made a dynamic duo (take that Batman and Robin!). There are a few dull moments and a few silly moments in Viva Las Vegas, but they're few and far apart. I think the worst part of the movie, for me, was Ann-Margret's second dance number. I felt like I had already seen the same routine the first time she danced in the movie. 

This is one of my all time favorite Elvis movies and I imagine everyone has seen this film at some point in their lives, if not, do yourself a favor and rent it, buy it, or download it at your earliest chance.

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